Dr. Bazerman is interested in the practice and teaching of writing, understood in a socio-historic context. Using socially based theories of genre, activity system, interaction, intertextuality, and cognitive development, he investigates the history of scientific writing, other forms of writing used in advancing technological projects, and the relation of writing to the development of disciplines of knowledge. Some of his studies involve the history and organization of environmental knowledge and communication.
Professor Cook’s current research explores early modern writing about forests and trees, considering the shifting and sometimes colliding concepts of value and the history of environmental ethics. In her current project, “Talking Trees in Long 18th-Century British Literature,” she examines the simultaneous development of silviculture and silviphilia — often radically opposed ways of valuing trees that are still with us today — during the eighteenth century. Her work argues that this history of contradictory attitudes toward the environment can help us understand how we respond to and address critical environmental issues today.
Meso-American Research Center
Dr. Anabel Ford works with the MesoAmerican Research Center and combines archaeological research with traditional Maya knowledge. Her work involves studying patterns of settlement and environment by examining the common human aspects of the ancient Maya civilization that shed light on sustainable farming practices. Much of Dr. Ford’s work takes place at the ancient Maya city center of El Pilar, which she has transformed into a living museum and laboratory. Using the landscape as a tool of conservation, Dr. Ford has turned El Pilar into a model of synergy between nature and culture, and her focus on cultural ecology is being applied to benefit of contemporary populations while simultaneously studying the co-evolution of human societies and the environment.
BRASS/El Pilar Program
Ken Hiltner is a professor of English literature and Environmental Studies. He explores the history of literature and the relationship between literary history and our Earth in order to better understand how we arrived at our current environmental beliefs. Hiltner is active in examining environmental issues from various perspectives. He hosts a weekly podcast, the Environmental Humanities Podcast, where he conducts interviews with scholars and artists to discuss how environmental issues are taken up across the humanities. He also has given various talks, such as “Nature: How Much Does it Matter,” “The Role of Our Past In Our Environmental Future,” and “Environmental Criticism: What is at Stake?”
Hoelle’s research include economic and ecological anthropology, and conservation and development in Latin America. He is currently focused on understanding the economic and cultural factors that contribute to the expansion of cattle raising in the western Amazon state of Acre, Brazil. The project also examines the symbolic practices and preferences for a cattle-centered rural life that are expressed in cauboi (cowboy) and contri (country) popular culture in Acre. His interest in the economic, ecological, and cultural relationships between humans and cattle in Amazonia provides the foundation for an emerging research project comparing “cattle cultures” in the Americas, Africa, and India. His forthcoming book is titled Rainforest Cowboys: The Rise of Ranching and Cattle Culture in Western Amazonia.
Environmental Humanities Initiative
Ann Elise Lewallen
East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
Ann-Elise Lewallen’s research and teaching engages with critical indigenous studies, gender studies, multiculturalism, and environmental justice in the context of contemporary Japan and in Japan’s transnational relations. As a cultural anthropologist, she is also concerned with research ethics and issues of knowledge construction in relation to indigenous and research host communities. Her current book project examines models of sustainable development and environmental justice within transnational citizen relations between Japan and India.
Professor Shewry’s research interests include pacific rim cultures, environmental studies, and oceans and water. She is the director of Literature and the Environment at UCSB. Her recent publications include “Possible Ecologies: Literature, Nature, and Hope in the Pacific” and “Environmental Criticism for the Twenty-First Century.” Her book, Hope at Sea: Possible Ecologies in Oceanic Literature (University of Minnesota Press, 2015), explores hope in the context of environmental change in the Pacific.
East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies
Dr. Steavu’s research interest include “esoteric” traditions of medieval Buddhism and early medieval Taoism. His work includes investigating how approaches to nature and conservancy in classical East Asian traditions (Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism between the 4th century BCE and the 10th century CE) can help us elaborate contemporary approaches to sustainability.
Professor Welter’s research includes the theory and history of sustainable architecture and how the environment and architecture are related. He studies the history and culture surrounding the development of techniques used in sustainable architecture, such as passive heating and cooling in buildings.